HC Deb 21 January 1947 vol 432 cc31-2
52. Mr. Butcher

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to define the Government's wages and salaries policy; and which Minister is responsible for it.

The Prime Minister

As has been previously stated, the policy of the Government is that responsibility for wage regulation should, in general, continue to be exercised through the machinery of joint voluntary negotiation. In conformity with this policy, the Government, in full association with both sides of the National joint Advisory Council, and with their endorsement, have issued a full statement of the economic considerations affecting relations between employers and workpeople, which is published today as a White Paper (Cmd. 7018). This statement is designed to assist both sides of industry in assessing the full nature of their responsibilities in the light of the economic situation of the country as a whole. The general responsibility for wages policy rests with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service.

Mr. Butcher

Are we really to understand that the Government propose to give no stronger lead than that contained in the White Paper, which largely consists of platitudes?

The Prime Minister

I would not agree with that, but certainly there is a great deal more to be done than the issue of a White Paper.

Sir W. Smithers

May I ask the Prime Minister whether, to make the position quite clear as to the policy of His Majesty's Government, he will print this White Paper and the election manifesto, of the Socialist Party in parallel columns?

The Prime Minister

There is no authority for the Government to publish election literature, interesting as it may be.